HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College women's cross country team appears to be peaking at just the right time as the No. 24 Fords will enter the postseason stretch with their highest ranking of the season. The postseason journey for the Fords will begin this Sunday at Gettysburg with the 25th running of the Centennial Conference Championship. The women's race is set for a 12 p.m. start.
Katie Sullivan is one three runners in this year's field looking to become a three-time first-team All-Centennial Conference performer in cross country. Sullivan has placed sixth during each of the past two seasons. However, this will be no easy repeat as six of the top seven finishers from last year's race are slated to return this season. Should Sullivan finish in the top seven and earn first-team all-conference recognition, she would be the 23rd runner in Centennial Conference history to accomplish this feat.
Fellow senior Nicole Giannetti earned second-team All-Centennial Conference recognition last fall with a 13th place finish. The honor also vaulted the Fords' captain to being named the Centennial Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Amelia Keyser-Gibson has also consistently ran among the Fords' top entrants during her career. She will look for her first All-Centennial Conference recognition in cross country as her best finish was a 15th place showing in 2015.
Haverford can enter up to 12 runners in the varsity race with the rest of the team's entrants set to compete in the open race later that afternoon. Fellow seniors MaryKate Cavanaugh (23rd in 2016), Sarah Wade (30th in 2016), and Alison Love (39th in 2016) were all among Haverford's top seven finishers last year as each ran a personal best time during the 2016 postseason and will look to peak during that crucial time of the season once again this fall.
Junior Sophie Drew has been among Haverford's top five finishers all year and will be entering her third Centennial Championship last fall. Her best finish came last fall when she placed 53rd overall. She will enter the weekend coming off the best 6,000 meter time of her career (23:43.20) at the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle. Sophomore Mckenna Krall and junior Julia Smith also have championship experience with their respective 54th and 55th place finishes behind Drew last year in what was their Centennial Conference Championship debuts. Sophomore Jolie Jaycobs could also be in the mix for Haverford as she has steadily progressed this season and ran a personal best time (24:31.80) at Rowan just two weeks ago.
A talented first year class will also be eager to get their first championship race experience on the collegiate level. Both Hannah Doll and Hannah Yeakey set new personal bests at the 6,000 meter distance during the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle and have consistently been in scoring positions all year for the Fords. Classmate Molly Hawkins just missed cracking the 24 minute mark at Rowan and is another threat to break into the Haverford top seven this weekend.
Haverford has had 67 runners named All-Centennial Conference in the 24 year history of the Centennial Conference Championship. Thirty-three of those selections have been first-team honorees which are presented to the top seven finishers in the race. Second-team All-CC accolades are given to the eighth through 14th place finishers. Haverford has claimed the individual champion six times in program history with the most recent coming during Emily Lipman's '12 first-place finish in 2009. Haverford has won three team titles which came during the 1993, 1995, and 1996 seasons.
Women's cross country has finished first or second as a team in the meet 17 times during the previous 24 editions with just one finish ever outside of the top three. The Fords are currently the third-highest nationally-ranked team in the Centennial Conference with No. 1 Johns Hopkins and No. 16 Dickinson ranked first and second in the Mideast Region. Those three teams were also the top three finishers at last year's meet.